May 27, 2022
Chad J. Bradford and David S. Strite obtained a defense verdict in favor of a nurse practitioner and her employer in Boone County Circuit Court (Lebanon, Indiana) on May 27, 2022.
The patient presented to an urgent care clinic one week following an ankle sprain. The defendant nurse practitioner performed an evaluation and assessed the patient as experiencing pain from the Achilles tendon. Plaintiff alleged that the patient reported new onset calf pain and that Defendants were negligent for not sending the patient for evaluation of a possible deep vein thrombosis. The patient suffered a massive and fatal pulmonary embolism three days later.
Plaintiff presented testimony from internal medicine, emergency medicine and vascular surgery experts as well as a forensic pathologist. Plaintiff claimed that a deep vein thrombosis formed in the patient’s calf and propagated to form the large clot that broke off to become the fatal pulmonary embolus. Plaintiff also presented testimony from an economist regarding the value of the patient’s estimated loss of income and household services.
Defendants presented testimony from two board-certified emergency medicine specialists, including the chair of emergency medicine at a large medical school. Defendants also called at trial a board-certified vascular surgeon, who had since retired from the faculty at another school of medicine. Defendants argued that both the care provided in the urgent care setting was appropriate and that it was not the responsible cause of the patient’s death. The defense experts testified that the large clot found on autopsy most likely originated from the large veins of the pelvis and that the patient presented with no signs of clinically significant deep vein thrombosis.
The trial was conducted over five days, after which time a unanimous verdict was returned in favor of the defendants.